As a follow up to yesterday’s Sunday Times post, I want to offer my personal top five favorite things to do in L.A. using public transit.
5. The Jewelry District- Metro Red Line, Pershing Square.
I’m sentimental about the jewelry district because my husband and went there to design my wedding ring together. The stone was his grandma’s and needed to be reset, and the whole morning–coffee, Metro ride, appointment with awesome jeweler family, pupusas—was just fun.
I just think it is a fascinating block to see, with the fancy storefronts, but the markedly less fancy upstairs offices that are actually packed with wholesalers. A much better experience than a chain jewelry store.
4. Dodger Stadium, Union Station.
Your game ticket covers your fare for this direct route from Union Station to Dodger Stadium. The Red, Purple, and Gold lines, plus Metrolink and Amtrak will all get you to Union Station. So you could go to the game without a car. Which is awesome, since parking costs a ba-jillion dollars and it takes forever to get around the loop.
3. The “Red Line Shuffle” (I just made that name up. )
Here’s the deal. Get to Union Station and hop on the Red Line. Ride it north and get off on the tourist stops—Hollywood & Highland for the Hollywood sign, the El Capitan and Grauman’s Chinese Theater. See the stars on the ground, put your hands in the cement prints. Then, 15 minutes later, leave.
Next stop, Universal City Walk. You come up from the Metro stop and can walk across the street to a free shuttle. They’ll drive you up to the entrance of Universal Studios and City Walk. I still haven’t seen the dueling pianos, and I want to so badly.
(Side note: City Walk is where we came for Senior Ditch Day. Does that still happen? If it does, it wasn’t a bad idea.)
Head back south on the line, the way you came from. Get off at Pershing Square and walk to Grand Central Market for lunch. Ride Angels Flight, walk to the city library or the Walt Disney Concert Hall if you want.
Return to Union Station, and take some time just to check it out. I love Union Station. I think it is beautiful. Don’t forget to cross to Olvera Street. It won’t take too long, and it’s worth it.
When non-L.A. friends come to visit, this is our ‘go-to’ day trip with them. Six bucks, no traffic. Golden.
2. Grand Central Market, Metro Red Line, Pershing Square.
This is part of the Red Line Shuffle, but deserves a spot all its own. I love to eat something I could not get at home, even on a day outing. Each stall is unique and interesting, and the people who stop in are so eclectic. There are business people in suits who rode Angels Flight down, nearby residents doing their produce shopping, and tourists with backpacks trying to decide if they trust the open-air market to shield them from food poisoning. (Trust them, or you’ll miss out.)
I used to have an empanada place there, but they went out of business. So I usually go with Sarita’s Pupuseria, with a batido de guanabana from the bakery down the aisle for dessert. But once, we told our students they had to order something that stretched them. A group got tongue tacos, so I tried them. They were really good.
1. Homegirl Café, Metro Gold Line, Chinatown Station
I have to give Homegirl my top spot because a) the food is delicious b) Angela’s Potion, which is limeade with, of all things, spinach in it is fabulous and c) I respect the work of Homeboy Industries very much. Their motto is “nothing stops a bullet like a job.” And when you consider their effectiveness at gang intervention, they seem to be quite right.
Runner up: LAX. It can’t be top 5 because really, I don’t prefer to fly from LAX ever. But being able to get there without a car and the hassle that goes with a car is noteworthy, in my opinion.
What’s on your list for your town? Is there a museum, restaurant, or landmark you love on the transit route?